by Dennis Zacharkow, PT
As early as 1737, the school regulations of the German princedom of Braunschweig-Luneburg denounced the bending of the spine in sitting as "unwholesome and injurious" (Kotelmann, 1899; Bennett, 1928).
In regards to the chair, Aveling (1879) commented that "Of all the machines which civilization has invented for the torture of mankind, ...there are few which perform their work more pertinaciously, widely, or cruelly, than the chair. It is difficult to account for the almost universal adoption, at least in this country, of such an unscientific article of furniture."
As a result of improper school seating, Shaw (1902) referred to the "injurious effects as to posture, and wrong habits of carriage, which are borne through life, and sadly enough become more pronounced as the years of life increase."
"Many chairs literally mold the sitter into most harmful positions" (Bancroft, 1913).
"The construction of most chairs is such as to make relaxation of the muscles of the trunk unsafe, even dangerous, because of the malpositions into which the trunk is forced by gravity and the resulting effects upon the heart, lungs, diaphragm and other viscera, and the grave disturbance of the functions of respiration and circulation" (Kellogg, 1927).
Coghill (1941) referred to the chair as "the most atrocious institution hygienically of civilized life."
Leibowitz (1967) remarked that "... hundreds of variations upon the shape of the chair have been produced, many different enormously in terms of how one must sit in them. Indeed, we, not the chair, have made the compromise. We have agreed to adjust our bodies to the dictates of chairs; only rarely do we find a chair that in its design has contracted to fulfill the requirements of the human body. In such ways have we permitted the forms and products of our culture to change our body alignments in order to satisfy their structural requirements. We have accustomed ourselves to habitual modes of use that are literally disfiguring."
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